As transfer talks escalate and clubs hone in on their target, it’s looking more and more likely that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won’t be in an Arsenal shirt for much longer.
Due to the current financial climate and with Mesut Özil still on the club’s books with his mammoth £350,000 per week wage, the Gunners may not be able to afford to keep Aubameyang at the club. The Gabon international’s current contract is almost up, meaning unless a sale is finalised quickly, Arsenal could see their star player leave the Emirates next summer for nothing.
With three clubs very interested in his signature, Mikel Arteta and co have options in Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea. But while a move for Aubameyang may be easy, finding a replacement will be much trickier.
However, according to Sport (via Metro), Barca are looking to offload Ousmane Dembele, with Liverpool and Arsenal reportedly interested. Football FanCast has delved into why the Frenchman could be an ideal signing for the Gunners.
Although Dembele has only featured nine times for Barcelona this season, his previous years do all the talking. Last campaign, the 22-year-old netted 14 goals and assisted nine from either a left or right-wing position. He had less playing time in the previous season but still tallied four goals and nine assists.
But his season with Dortmund is arguably his most impressive. Dembele earned himself an impressive ten goals and 21 assists in the 2016/17 term, finishing the third highest assister in the Bundesliga with 13. Ten of those assists were to tee up former teammate Aubameyang (via WhoScored).
During his time in Germany, the then-teenager was praised for his keen eye and ability to put goals on a plate for his teammates. His partnership with Aubameyang made them the most clinical duo in terms of assist-to-goal combinations across the top five European leagues.
Ousmane Dembele to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Was the best assist-to-goalscorer combination in Europe's top five leagues in the 2016/17 season, returning 10 goals #TBT https://t.co/m9Ss60TZR4 pic.twitter.com/pkwNEF5PVQ
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 22, 2018
With the club unlikely to let both their senior strikers leave, the 28-year-old could flourish working alongside fellow native Dembele. The winger would be perfect for creating chances into the box. Lacazette – who will more than likely become Arsenal’s focus man up front – will need a pacy teammate with the vision to help create goalscoring opportunities.
As demonstrated with Aubameyang, Dembele is able to create golden chances whilst also netting them with ease himself. Although his creativity is a huge threat, his most desirable asset is arguably his versatility. Able to play across any of the three attacking positions, the 22-year-old’s ability to adapt will help cater to Arsenal’s squad against tougher opponents.
Teamed up with fellow versatile forward Eddie Nketiah, who can also play in any front three position, the two could be deadly in dominating the wide spaces. Lacazette could also find himself operating in the No.9 role in every game, supported by the two young wingers. That will certainly be a welcome thought after spending the majority of this season on the bench.
Barcelona have made their stance on Dembele clear and are looking to offload him in the next transfer window. The Frenchman is open to a move elsewhere and has revealed he is interested in joining the Premier League.
With Arteta giving chances to young talent such as Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli, Dembele could see himself become a regular starter and eventual ever-present figure in this Arsenal side. The winger has proved he can adapt to new challenges after previously playing in Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and La Liga – it makes sense for an ambitious player to take on a move to the Premier League while he’s still young.
Barcelona haven’t announced Dembele’s price but are reportedly wanting to make back as much of the original £135.5million as they can. His price tag may be steep but his current Transfermarkt value is just £50.4m at the moment.
Arsenal should view the Frenchman as an investment to their current project and someone who should almost definitely be able to get them results.